Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Dr. Jesse Goldstein

Second Advisor

Dr. Victor Chen

Third Advisor

Dr. John Powers


This research presents a generative critique of hackathon events held in the contemporary research university. Through the analysis of cultural imaginaries and embedded techno-political forms, it works toward an assessment of whether these events support, foreclose, or redirect ideas of the future that might otherwise challenge technocratic, accumulatory, and/or hierarchal organization. Informed by institutional histories and firsthand field research at events, dynamics of entrepreneurialism, gamification, and techno-solutionism are extrapolated and problematized. Ultimately, this research draws on a historical materialist approach to understanding how and why hackathon events have flourished in the university setting. Corroborating recent theories of platform capitalism, vectoralism, and the “hacker class,” this research uses critical genealogy and ethnography to problematize events and caution against the coercive filtering and funneling of creative energies at the hands of capitalist pressures.

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission


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